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Guarantee is a no-go

March 19th, 2009

Troubling economic times call for complicated budget cuts and painful setbacks. John Carroll University has proposed budget cuts that affect faculty, staff and students. Among some of the new proposals are an update of mandatory graduation hours and a new marketing campaign to “guarantee graduation.”

Before any decisions are made, the University must work in close consultation with faculty. We urge the administration to consider their input and opinion in every financial decision made toward the ongoing budget cuts, the new marketing plan and reducing required graduation hours. With long-term systemic impacts in the classroom, faculty members are in the position to speak for or against any proposals that may adversely affect academic value.

A JCU degree is highly valued and sought after by employers both locally and nationally. Marketing graduation from JCU as “guaranteed” does no service to current students and alumni as it trivializes the value of the degree, brands it as arbitrary and definite, and gives the impression that limited work is required.

Such an advertising campaign is typical of online and proprietary schools that do not enjoy the academic prestige and quality of a Jesuit institution.

Other cuts, including the reduction of credit hours from 128 to 120, will save students money. But this comes at the cost of increased classroom sizes. Many students choose JCU for its small classes and emphasis on individual attention. Lowering credit hours may turn away prospective students and harm the educational value current students enjoy.

Financial problems are difficult, controversial and often contentious. The economy isn’t what it used to be and budget decisions can be tough. We can emerge from this crisis strong without sacrificing academic integrity and devaluing a JCU education; however, solutions must be evaluated in conference with faculty, as their impacts can be felt campus-wide.